Knitting is really good for you

Knitting, apparently, should be prescribed on the NHS to reduce depression and ward off dementia, amongst other benefits.  Now that’s some claim!  So I read today in the Sunday Telegraph, in the Science section, so it must be true.

If that’s the case, I’d better pick up my needles pretty soon.  I’ve not knitted for a long time and I really miss it.  Other activities have simply taken over.  But it’s up to me to make time and space for it.

It was kind of a New Year’s Resolution to start knitting again.  I mean, whoever heard of a knitting blog with no knitting on it?  It’s not that I’m short of ideas, either.  I’m just not very good at blocking out time for it.

But I am taking some inspiration from last year, when I made a couple of radical changes to my life.  I quit my day job and got another (better) one.  I also decided to get a grip on my health whilst I’ve still got it, made some lifestyle changes and dropped a dress size.  So the next thing will be to get knitting.  For health reasons, to express some creativity, and for the joy of it.

Now that I’ve said it out loud, I’ve got to do it!

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Cats…in boxes

Yes indeed, cats have been known to like boxes.  Empty or with stuff in, they don’t mind. In them or on them, it’s all good.

Check out this Amazon Prime delivery.  Just the right size for Larry.  Literally had just opened it and took the stuff out.

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Herbert dived in before we even removed the paper.

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And Monty likes to be up high. Yes he has a slightly odd summer haircut, but he’s still rocking this box.

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Eagle-eyed readers will notice that this post has nothing to do with knitting….again.

Till next time,

L x

No knitting?

No knitting?

No knitting for ages, and a neglected knitting blog as other activities have taken over.  My art print business, Go To Design, has kept me busy with a load of trade orders.  Great news for the art biz, but curtains for the knitting, for the time being.  I have a full-time day job too, which quite often takes me away from home.

The joy of the last few months, however, has been my new dog-walking gig with the Cinnamon Trust.  Every Saturday I walk Meggie, a classic black and white collie, and Badger, a black field spaniel.

They are adorable and so different.  Meggie is very engaging and just wants to play ball.  She doesn’t care where we are, as long as I am throwing a ball or a stick for her.  In fact she is so ball-obsessed that I have to watch out for kids in the park playing football, because she will invade the pitch.  She looks at me all the time and I talk to her constantly. She is wonderful and I am a little bit in love with her.

Badger is not interested in balls, sticks, or me.  He just wants to scurry about following  scents in the bushes.  His recall isn’t great.  He has been known to chase squirrels or rabbits and he once stole a chicken from someone’s back garden (not on my watch – and the chicken was OK).  So we have made a deal.  He is off-lead in the park where we begin and end our walks every week.  Then for pastures new he is on a long lead and I do my best to keep up with him.  When we sit down for a rest he leaps into my lap and snuffles for a treat.

I have to plan the walks to cater for their different interests. Meg needs a big space to run in, and Badger prefers footpaths in fields or woodlands. He also loves water, especially in the hot weather.  He can’t wait to find a river and jump in it.

I’ve found the ideal walk for us – at Rivelin Valley in Sheffield. The river goes along the valley floor through stunning woodlands, with rocky paths and little bridges. There are lots of shallow places where they can go for a paddle and a sit down.  Today they spent most of the walk trotting through the river.

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Till next time,

L x

Giant Wool & Needles in UK Now!

A Cable Knit Blanket in kingsize, made in time for Christmas, in Fawn.

I am loving the drape over the sides of the bed!

The Cable Knit blanket is my bestselling knitting pattern by far, available on Etsy or Ravelry via PDF download.  I also sell it on Ebay, but due to Ebay rules cannot offer downloads, so for ebayers I print the pattern as an A5 size booklet and send in the post.

The blanket is great fun and fast to knit!  I have been using custom-made giant needles, both in pairs and circulars, and a double strand of Cygnet Seriously Chunky yarn.

But now there’s a great place in the UK to find giant yarn and giant needles.  It’s called woollymahoosive.com.  They have a range of giant yarns, from luxury merino wool to amazingly good lower-priced alternatives, all in beautiful colours.

You can also buy the giant needles there too, which are all hand-turned by the lady herself!

Kits and offers are available.  So if you’re thinking of having a go at extreme knitting but could not get hold of the yarn and needles, wait no longer!

Till next time,

L x

Giant wool at the Knitting Show

Knitting with super chunky oversized yarn in the UK just got a whole lot easier!

At the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate (on till Sunday) I met Andrea of the superbly-named Woolly Mahoosive.  Giant merino wool and 2 acrylic alternatives are her speciality.  All the yarns are super-soft and come in a range of gorgeous colours.   They are for knitting on massive 25mm – 40mm needles.  They are also perfect for arm knitting!

Check out the display:

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See the ginormous chunky wooden needles with signature cubed stoppers?  They are beautifully made from tulipwood and rosewood, and come in different lengths.  These needles are just what I was looking for when I started extreme knitting.  There were none available commercially at that time, so after I got lucky on ebay with a pair of wooden 25mm, I had my uncle make me a set of double pins and circulars in 2 big sizes.

So how did Andrea get hold of this array of giant knitting needles?  Does she have a helpful relative beavering away in a workshop? No, she made them herself.  Yes indeed.  Having no experience of woodwork, she informed herself, got hold of the equipment and set to work.

This kind of initiative and dedication is truly impressive.  Their prices are utterly reasonable too.  Bloggers, I would urge you to pop over to Twitter and give them a follow. They deserve it!

My head is now popping with ideas about what to make with these fabulous yarns.  Inspiration – that’s what the Knitting show is for!

Till next time

L x

Biggest blanket yet!

I’ve just finished this Cable Knit blanket for an Etsy customer. It’s the biggest one I’ve ever made.  It fits a 5 ft wide double bed, with a 10 inch drape over either side.  There are 5 cable columns requiring almost 100 stitches.

Blanket in progress

Blanket in progress

I used my 25mm circular needles which my Uncle made for me on his lathe.

In terms of hours spent knitting, the blanket doesn’t take that long to make.  But in this case it took me 4 weeks to complete, because I was away for a week on a business trip, and then I was on holiday for another week. During the time away, I had quite a lot of ‘downtime’ which would have been perfect for knitting, but unfortunately an extreme knitting blanket isn’t exactly  portable!  I ordered 5 kgs of supersoft chunky yarn and I used every last metre. I was joining in new balls of yarn every 5 or 6 rows.

I knitted it into a large cardboard box, occasionally spreading it out onto a bed to measure progress and check for mistakes (luckily for me there weren’t any – undoing this beast would be a bit of a nightmare!)

After casting off, there were seemingly hundreds of yarn ends to weave in, which was quite an undertaking in itself.

I love the result though, and I think my customer has chosen a great colour. The blanket is winging its way to her now, and I really hope she likes it.

Till next time,

L x

Mad Cat Baskets are finally here!

Whew! It’s taken me long enough to finalise this design, but here it is.  Listed and live on Etsy and Not On The High Street.

I’ve even updated my profile to show them off.

Mad Cat Baskets in 5 funky colours

Mad Cat Baskets in 5 funky colours

After getting to grips with the quirks of t-shirt yarn, I’m really enjoying working with it. Many, many hours of working and reworking and unpicking and re-calculating have gone into these five cat beds. Because the yarn is totally unreliable – could be super-chunky, or just a bit chunky – each basket comes out a different size.

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But they will all comfortably accommodate a small or medium-sized cat.

And Herbie, at a push.

All tucked in!

All tucked in!

Till next time,

L x